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Rock Rewind: Bruce Springsteen “Born In the U.S.A.”

One can hardly think of the Boss (aka Bruce Springsteen) without thinking of his signature album Born In the U.S.A. While he was already considered successful in the music business before that album was released in 1984, Born In the U.S.A. (his seventh album) not only marked a change in his style and tone, but its politically charged content struck a unique balance between questioning authority and patriotic hope for its time, cementing Springsteen’s image as something of a rock-star for the common man. In the process, his fame extended way beyond American borders, and he became an international superstar.

The title track  (which serves as something of a keynote for the album) was actually the album’s third single, and it sparked a bit of misunderstanding as to its meaning for awhile.  The title sounds purely patriotic, and its anthemic nature begs for collective fist-pumping–but the song actually was a lament that the working-class man had little or no voice in the current political landscape. As a result, ironically, “Born In the U.S.A.” ended up receiving accolades from the likes of Ronald Reagan and other conservatives that the song was actually intended to target. (Apparently, they hadn’t read the lyric sheet.)

Born In the U.S.A. (the album) went on to be the Boss’s all-time best seller, and the success trickled down to his other records released both before and after, as millions of fans began collecting his discography.  Springsteen is one of the few rock artists whose first ten(!) albums have achieved at least Platinum status. Born in the U.S.A. itself went Diamond, with more than 15 million units sold.


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About the Author

on MUSIC IS MY OXYGEN WEEKLY.

Tim Ferrar's interest in pop and rock started as a child, listening to Top-40 radio for hours on end while playing air guitar in his bedroom. Eventually air guitar led to electric guitar, and Tim began playing in bands and writing his own songs. With an admitted weakness for "a great hook or a great guitar riff," Tim's musical tastes are broad and varied, ranging from Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga on the pop side to Bon Jovi and Foo Fighters on the rock side- making him the ideal guy to cover our Rock and Pop categories. By day, Tim is a mild-mannered accountant in Chicago. By night, he rocks out on electric guitar in a cover band in various clubs around town- much to the surprise of some of his clients.

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